Exotic flavours from exotic lands: Lithuanians are increasingly turning to them

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Lithuanians are discovering a variety of exotic flavours. The buyers are increasingly interested in products that are used to cook traditional Asian, North African or South American dishes.

Hummus, coconut milk and rice noodles are just a few of the products that have become popular among Lithuanians in recent years. More and more people are travelling, as well as looking for interesting recipes on the internet, and they are interested in the food cultures of other countries – they are tasting and getting to know new exotic flavours,” said Vilma Drulienė, Chief Commercial Officer at Maxima.

Comparing the sales trends over the last four months with the same period last year, customers of the retail chain have bought nearly one and a half times more foods and ingredients typical of ethnic cuisines from different parts of the world.

In January to April this year, Maxima’s customers bought more than 1.1 million products that are used to make a wide range of snacks, soups, hot dishes and even desserts associated with various nations throughout the world. According to Drulienė, the variety of more than 350 different goods for ethnic cuisines available at Maxima allows customers to create spectacular travel routes starting in Georgia, Turkey or Morocco and extending to China, Thailand, Japan and Mexico, Maxima writes in a press release.

Mexican cuisine dominates

The sunny Mexican cuisine can be attributed to more than half of all ethnic cuisine sales. According to Drulienė, most customers like Mexican snacks and other easily prepared dishes. Tortillas and various chips with matching sauces are becoming increasingly popular choices.

Over 200 thousand tortillas were bought this year, which is a fifth more than last year; and nearly 340 thousand packages of products with different Mexican flavours were bought, or almost twice as much as were purchased last year.

A total of over 171 thousand ingredient and products for Thai dishes were sold, and their demand in the Maxima stores in January to April this year was one third higher than last year. Sales of products associated with traditional Japanese cuisine also exceeded 170 thousand items this year. In fact, sales of various Japanese sauces, miso soups, tofu products, seaweed snacks, shirataki noodles and products for making sushi were up 30 percent in January to April, when compared to last year.

The popularity of Chinese cuisine was reflected in the sales of traditional sauces from this country. During the past year, Maxima’s buyers have had a dozen varieties of Chinese sauces to choose from, and they have bought over 46 thousand sauce packages that reveal and accentuate the taste of Chinese dishes.

According to the sales figures, Indian Tikka Masala sauce and the spice mixes for this sauce have become one of the biggest discoveries for Lithuanian consumers. Sales of the Tikka Masala sauce offered by the renowned manufacturer, Santa Maria, in packages of 350 grams reached the shopping carts of buyers during the first four months of this year tens of times more often than in the same time period last year. In turn, Aidas Poleninas, Head of Maxima’s Food Production Development Department, says that one package of Tikka Masala sauce is enough to make a traditional Indian dish for four people. According to Poleninas, it is easy to make an exotic-looking chicken dish.

Chicken Tikka Masala

You will need: 1 tablespoon of butter, 400 g of chicken fillets, 1 pack (350 g) of Tikka Masala sauce, as well as some red peppers, several sprigs of coriander and a handful of cashew nuts. It can be served with rice and mango chutney.

Put a piece of butter into the preheated pan, then add the chopped chicken. Bake until the chicken turns nicely golden and starts to fry. Then lower the temperature and add the Tikka Masala sauce, as well as some nuts. Cook for a few more minutes and remove from the stove. Put the chicken onto plates, and decorate it with the chopped peppers, coriander and nuts. Next to the chicken, serve the cooked rice, flavoured with mango chutney.

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